Mark Green, CEO, W.H.I.
1. Bad Beginnings
Your MC is in charge of introducing your speakers and other key presenters. An amateur host may try to be funny while making these introductions. This is a problem because you want your attendees to know that your presenters are important and have something valuable to say. At other times, a weak MC will read a way-too-long biography of the speaker. Note: An intro is not the same as a bio.
Solution: The Emcee should prepare a brief 3-point introduction for your keynote speaker that sets him/her up in a super positive way. This Intro should highlight: WHO the speaker is. WHY they have credibility. And, WHAT they will be sharing.
2. Hogging the Spotlight
You definitely want a Master of Ceremonies with personality. But be careful. Your host should not make the program about how wonderful he/she is, but about how great your organization and event are!
Solution: Work with a Host who "gets it" and keeps the spotlight on your event success. Give your MC specifics about your organization and people. Example: "This group is unstoppable when it comes to winning sales awards."
3. A Naked Stage
Your Emcee needs to keep things m-o-v-i-n-g. The host is responsible for transitions between speakers, videos, and other segments. An amateur Master of Ceremonies will slow run a slow-paced program and your audience will see dead spots.
Solution: Have your Emcee seated close to the steps of the stage. Invite your speakers to be "on deck" and near the platform before they go up. Tell your MC and all of your program participants that you do not want an empty stage.
4. Time Overruns
Your attendees will be pleased if you start and end your program when you say you will. A weak MC will allow the program to run long and will often insert too much of his/her own material into the agenda.
Solution: Work with an Emcee who runs a tight ship. If a speaker runs over, the MC should begin to move toward the platform and be ready to artfully interrupt the long-winded presenter.
5. Skipping the Details
Your people are silently hoping your MC will tell them what to expect, where to go, and what to do next. Many amateur Emcees forget to give attendees the facts: Where is breakfast? What time are the break-out sessions? How do I get the event app?
Solution: Give your MC the details. Remind your host to share all of the Who? What? Where? Whens? with your group.
6. Room Gloom
Your event guests want to feel entertained and energized at your meeting. A weak MC will forget or fail to bring the "fun factor."
Solution: Most audiences feel drained during a long meeting. Make sure your Master of Ceremonies engages your attendees (though tasteful humor, stretching, ice breakers, etc).
7. Failure to Communicate
Your meeting has many moving parts. It's best to talk about the flow of your program before it starts. An amateur Master of Ceremonies will try to "wing it" and run your event on the fly without discussing/rehearsing each piece of your program first.
Solution: Communicate with your MC long before your event. Provide your host with a "Run Sheet" document that breaks down every part of your meeting, including the timing for each part. Key: Have all of your presenters, including the MC, meet for a talk-through one hour before the program begins.